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ETtech Evening Briefing on Feb 15, 2021: Supreme Court notice to Facebook, WhatsApp; India eases mapping policy


Good evening,

The Supreme Court on Monday told Facebook and WhatsApp that they may be “$2-3 trillion companies” but people value their privacy and it is the court’s duty to protect it. The court issued notices to the two firms over WhatsApp’s privacy policy update, which made news last month. Meanwhile, Byju’s is reportedly on the verge of buying edtech rival Toppr, and tech giants are busy striking deals with Australian publishers and broadcasters to pay for news.
We explored this issue in depth on Saturday.

1. SC issues notices to Facebook, WhatsApp

The Supreme Court has
sent notices to Facebook and WhatsApp over a plea that alleges the two companies have lower standards of privacy for Indians users than for Europeans.

“You may be $2-3 trillion companies but people value their privacy and it is the court’s duty to protect their privacy,” the court told Facebook and WhatsApp. The court had earlier
refused to entertain a plea that had sought to roll back WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

The story so far: WhatsApp, the world’s largest messaging service, last month
unveiled a privacy policy update, which grants Facebook greater access to business chats on WhatsApp. After facing backlash from users, some of whom switched to rival messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram, WhatsApp
deferred the implementation of its new policy from February 8 to May 15. The government, however, wants the company to
withdraw it entirely.

Also Read:
Mark Zuckerberg defends WhatsApp’s privacy update, takes shot at rivals

2. ETtech Done Deals

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■ India’s largest education technology startup
Byju’s
is on the verge of acquiring rival
Toppr in a deal that could value the latter at as much as $150 million, Entrackr reported on Monday. News of the potential acquisition comes at a time when Byju’s has reportedly signed a deal to acquire Blackstone-backed Aakash Educational Services for as much as $1 billion.

Byju’s, by far the largest player in India’s edtech space, is looking at consolidating its position in the market. Last year the company acquired WhiteHat Jr, a coding platform for children, for $300 million.


Eupheus Learning, a business-to-business education technology company, has
raised $4.1 million in a Series B funding led by Kuwait-based United Education Company (UEC), as it looks to expand its presence into the Middle East.

The Delhi-based startup said it will utilise the capital to grow its business organically in India with a focus on supplemental at-home learning solutions, while it is also looking at expanding internationally in the Middle East and then other markets such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is also looking to pursue inorganic growth through acquisitions.


Wipro has received a
five-year IT transformation contract from
Telefónica Germany. Wipro says the deal would ensure that Telefónica Germany (O2) is well positioned to modernise and launch a range of new offerings, including 5G products and services.

Wipro will also invest in developing a state-of-the-art digital business support platform to fuel Telefónica Germany’s growth and provide the company with an outcome-based, committed plan.

3. IT industry revenue pegged at $194 billion for FY21

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Revenue from India’s IT industry is
expected to rise 2.3% year-on-year to $194 billion in FY21, according to Nasscom.

What will drive growth? The three key areas that the industry will focus on are artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and the internet of things.

By the numbers

  • The Indian IT industry now accounts for 8% of India’s GDP and has a 52% share in services exports.
  • The Indian IT sector hired about 1.38 lakh people in the pandemic year.

4. Big Tech “very close” to deals with Oz media

Google and Facebook are
“very close” to finalising deals with major Australian media to pay for news. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai had made “great progress”.

Backstory: Australia is
set to pass world-first laws that will require Big Tech firms to negotiate with local publishers and broadcasters on how much they will pay for content. If they fail to strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide for them.

Why it matters: Last month, Google said it will
disable its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with the controversial law. The tech giant has also
reached a deal with French media publishers to use their content. The company last year
announced plans to pay $1 billion to publishers around the world over the next three years.

Also read:
ET Explains: Making internet majors pay for news content

5. India liberalises mapping policy

India has
liberalised its mapping policy, allowing startups and local firms to build next-generation geospatial maps.

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Why it matters: The policy is likely to spur innovation and entrepreneurship as the country mostly depends on foreign resources for mapping technologies and services. The move will enable Indian companies to compete in the global mapping ecosystem by leveraging modern geospatial technologies, the government said.

This comes weeks ahead of the launch of its India’s first private remote sensing satellite Anand by Bengaluru-startup
Pixxel, one of the
finalists in the Best on Campus category in the 2020 edition of The Economic Times Startup Awards.

Also Read:
ISRO, MapmyIndia join hands to take on Google Maps, Google Earth in India





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